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Monday, April 03, 2006

From the Back Seat

I spent the evening with Billy Collins and Mary Chapin Carpenter yesterday! This is how it went:

Annie and I walk into the beautiful UCLA auditorium - arches soaring above our heads. We sit at the very back of the balcony, elbow to elbow, knee to chair. Soon the lights dim and Billy, Mary, and her fellow guitarist walk onto the stage. They are wearing different shades of gray - all in jeans, as if we have arrived in their living room for a cozy concert of word and music.

Mary picks up her guitar and strums for a moment. I wrote this song about my very first date with my current husband. My current and only husband. The crowd chuckles. He's the best one I've ever had! We laugh. And the moment she begins to sing, I feel my body shiver then unwind. The way you do when someone runs their fingers through your hair. She finishes the song and introduces another.

This will show you I'm the shallowest person on the face of the planet, Mary says dropping her hands over her guitar. But the first time I ever met my husband I said out loud in the car - Please God, let him have hair. Slowly she turns her head from Billy (who is bald) to her fellow guitarist (who is bald). The crowd erupts in laughter.

She grins and continues, Which was terrible because some of the most brilliant, talented, sexiest men are bald and I'm standing between two of them. She stretches her arms out and points to the men on either side. The auditorium thunders with applause.

The evening weaves on in braided strands of poem and song. Billy finishes a poem about the ghost of dog put to sleep, come back to talk to his owners. I never liked you, the dog says. You scratched me in all the wrong places.

I know why you like dogs. Billy says over his shoulder to Mary. It's because they have lots of hair isn't it?

We are enjoying this evening. This quiet show of guitar and words, strings lifting and winding, strumming then descending on our ears. We're lapping up the images sprung from Billy's mind. He is twisting the world and turning it back on itself. His father sits up in his grave to look disapprovingly at Billy. His mother rolls over and tells him to lay back down.

In the end, it was a delightful evening. Entertainment that makes you want to go home and immerse yourself in art, support those in the business of expression, and keep their craft alive. I encourage all of you, no matter where you are, to discover the corners of creativity in your community. Adopt an artist! Their words will be your friends. Their chords your sweethearts.


Blogger theanglosaxonblog said...

Great blog - you should put it forward for review and earn some money

12:04 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Sounds like fun!

relatively unrelated, but I loved your line "I feel my body shiver then unwind. The way you do when someone runs their fingers through your hair." That's EXACTLY it.

when are you sending another essay my way? :)

8:26 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Amy, soon and very soon! It's definitely time. Keep your eyes peeled. ;-) Thank You!

1:27 PM  

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